|Wednesday, 18 October 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-01-02
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 2 January 2013 Issue No: 4260
 Greece facing difficult but promising year, prime minister saysThis past year was a difficult year and 2013 will not be easy either, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said in his New Year's message, but the prospect of a better future will show up within the year.
Samaras made extensive reference to uprighting injustices, saying his government was committed to restoring justice. "We shall keep our promise, giving priority to low pensions, to cancelled bonuses for the economically weaker and to taxation, especially the VAT, which remains high," he said.
Jumpstarting the economy was this coming year's goal, the premier said, vowing that he would do whatever possible to bring more investments to Greece in order to stop relying on loans and stop being restricted by memorandums. The PM briefly reviewed the reforms his government had pushed through and said these were "changes nobody could imagine a few years ago... Everyone sees the difference now and we shall not stop until we complete what we started."
"Few believed us when we said we would avert Greece's exit from the euro," Samaras noted. "But we succeeded...With the funding we have secured, whatever the state has owed private individuals for years will be paid off within the next few months. Banks are being recapitalised, to be able to give loans to families and businesses. Fluidity will return to the Greek market, and the money that will flow into the Greek economy next year will, for the first time, be more than what is leaving the country because of austerity."
Samaras also stressed that his government brought an end to extensive lack of accountability and justice in the public sector, and warned that "whoever is thinking of continuing old bad habits will find the law's arm waiting for them."
"In 2012 we changed the image of Greece abroad. In 2013 we shall change Greek reality, with an emphasis on recovery and social cohesion," Samaras said. "Having support is good, having strong alliances is good, but we are the only ones who can save our own country, with our labour and with our spirit," the PM added, making special mention of a need for unity, his wish for the coming year. "I wish for unity, which is the most difficult but most effective condition of success," he concluded.
 Tsipras: 2013 can be the year of the great reversalMain opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said that 2013 can be the year of the great reversal, in New Year message, stressing that "it is the duty of all of us to make 2013 the year that democracy will defeat the Memorandum and the markets, and the year of revolt by dignity and solidarity".
"It is our obligation to not allow the Memorandum provisions for 2013 to become reality, otherwise we will witness the biggest humanitarian crisis ever to occur in Greece in times of peace," Tsipras said, stressing that the politicians "who bankrupted Greece, who legislated collusion and corruption, who secured impunity for the culprits, have nothing more to offer but more hardships, more destruction, new scandals and impunity".
"The political and economic establishment that has for the past three years humiliated the country with Memorandums, turning it into a 'debt-ridden colony', must have 2013 as its expiration date if we want our country and our people to have a better future and prospect," Tsipras said, stressing that "in 2013 we will put a stop to the destruction and topple the political establishment of corruption, in order to re-build our country from the start, as we deserve, to rebuild Greece with a just growth, solidarity and diligence".
 New Year brings 'hope for a better future,' SYRIZA saysThe year that passed may have been marked by the continuation of the destructive memorandum austerity programme for the Greek people, but it created a hope for its overturn, the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party said in its New Year's message on Monday.
"The hope for a better future lies in the resistance and solidarity struggles to get rid of the memorandums, to redistribute wealth and to have social justice," it added, "for another Europe, rid of neoliberalism and the domination of markets."
 President delivers strong message on tax evasionThe state has the obligation to be democratically present and leave no ground to be used by "newly-made heralds of a new order of things," President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias said on Monday in his New Year's message.
The president also spoke extensively in his message about tax evasion, calling on Greeks to "agree that fighting mass tax evasion, which is a major national priority, requires relentless, flexible and just tax laws that will be based on transparent and effective application methods."
Greece's "economic elite does not just have an ethical obligation to bear the load corresponding to it. It also has an imperative obligation: to avert the painful repercussions befalling the economically weakest and poorest segments," he said, warning that "those who continue to ignore their duties must be forced by the state to do so immediately, not sometime in the future, and to be liable to the state of law."
 Carolers sing to political leadersOn New Year's Eve, as is customary every year, political and party leaders received groups that sang traditional carols.
At the premier's offices in Maximos Mansion, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his wife Georgia heard carols from a boy and girl scout troop and distributed gifts.
Following carols by the boy scouts of Thessaloniki's Neapoli section, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos said that "the Greek people have gone through a lot of hardships and still does. It has a right to optimism, future prospects and hope. 2013 is a year of change, the sacrifices are taking effect."
"The coming year will be better than the previous ones," said DI.MAR. leader Fotis Kouvelis, after hearing carols from the Pontian federation of Greece, adding that Greeks "must get ahead with work, patience, persistence and the solidarity that must exist among all citizens."
After hearing carols from special needs groups from Attica and the islands, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga said that special needs people "are among the first, not the last, victims of memorandum austerity policies and of the exit from the crisis to the benefit of capital."
 Defence minister attends holiday eventNational Defence Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos, Alternate Minister Panagiotis Karabelas and Deputy Dimitris Elefsiniotis attended a New Year's Eve event at the ministry on Monday with carols and dancing by performers from the island of Kastellorizo and by two national defence bands.
The event was attended by top-level military personnel, including the armed forces chiefs of staff.
"Our wish is to be safe, healthy and strong this coming year. We hope it is a year of optimism, a year that will bring a smile to our faces at last," Panagiotopoulos said.
 President Papoulias in Berlin next weekGreek President Karolos Papoulias travels to Berlin on Monday, at the invitation of his German counterpart Joachim Gauck, on the occasion of the end of an exhibition at Berlin's Pergamon Museum on Ancient Olympia.
Papoulias told reporters, after a ceremony for an exchange of new year wishes with Greece's political and institutional leaders on Tuesday, that he will have a working lunch with Gauck, during which the two Presidents will discuss the entire range of Greek-German relations.
Replying to questions on tax evasion, Papoulias said that he is greatly concerned over the problem and has spoken out on the issue several times, adding that if Greece does not deal with it "those who are lifting the weight will be pointing the finger at us".
On the economy, he said that the primary target in 2013 is growth, "but social cohesion is needed for this".
 Deputies propose preliminary investigating committee on former finmin PapaconstantinouSeventy-one deputies from the ruling coalition signed a proposal calling for a preliminary investigative committee on former finance minister George Papaconstantinou over the so-called Lagarde list.
The proposal, drafted over the charges of falsification of documents and breach of duty with simultaneous harm to the public interest, needed a minimum of 30 signatures to be submitted. It was signed by 36 MPs from New Democracy, 22 from PASOK and 13 from DI.MAR and comes under the law of ministerial accountability.
Signatories did not include former ministers Evangelos Venizelos, currently head of PASOK, Apostolos Kaklamanis or former prime minister George Papandreou.
The "Lagarde list" of Greek owners of bank accounts in the HSBC bank was first given to Greek authorities by the French Finance Ministry in mid-2010 on a cd and forwarded to Papaconstantinou, the deputies said in their proposal. The investigation proposal centres around a discrepancy based on a discrepancy in data between the original list and a newer one provided by French authorities recently, as found through a comparison between lists by investigating judges.
The proposal must be discussed 15 days from the day it is tabled and voting on it at the plenary session will be carried out by secret ballot; it will require 151 votes to pass.
 Attica Bank well positioned to meet new challenges"Attica Bank is already strong and a share capital increase plan currently underway will further enhance its position in the banking system, the market and the economy," Ioannis Gamvrilis, the bank's chairman said on Monday.
In a statement, Gamvrilis said that Attica Bank has showed remarkable resilience and stability during the crisis because it faced difficulties as challenges and risks as opportunities. The bank's goal and vision is to establish itself in the market as a specialised and flexible bank for pension funds and private investors and has proven that the future is rightfully its own, he noted.
A bank recapitalisation program and the repayment - although partial - of the Greek state's debt to the private sector will contribute in restoring liquidity in the market and give the signal for an economic recovery in the country, the banker asserted. He added that the road forward would be hard, demanding a nation-wide effort and a solid political will for deep structural changes in the economy, the state and society.
 Greek retail sales turnover index down 16.5 pct in OctGreece's retail turnover index - excluding fuel - fell 16.5 pct in October, compared with the same month last year, after a 7.7 pct decline recorded in October 2011, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Monday. The statistics service said in a report that the retail sales turnover index - including fuel - fell 17.1 pct after an 8.1 pct fall recorded in the same periods, respectively.
The retail sales volume index - excluding fuel - fell 16.8 pct in October, while the index - including fuel - fell 18.1 pct in the same month.
 Greek stocks rallied 33.4 pct in 2012After two years of heavy losses, Greek stocks rallied in 2012 in the Athens Stock Exchange, supported by market relief after a general election in June offered a strong tri-party government which ensured the country's place in the eurozone, a successful Greek bond buyback programe and a decision by Standard & Poor's late in the year to upgrade the country's credit rating. The composite index of the market jumped 33.43 pct in 2012. The index rose 0.73 pct in the last trading session of the year, ending at 907.9 points, although turnover remained a low 18.939 million euros. The Big Cap index rose 0.17 pct and the Mid Cap index eased 0.05 pct.
The Food (4.66 pct), Financial Services (1.59 pct) and Personal Products (1.17 pc) sectors recorded the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Health (2.78 pct) and Banks (2.56 pct) suffered losses.
Coca Cola Hellenic (4.73 pct), MIG (2.14 pct), Jumbo (1.53 pct) and Frigoglass (1.35 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while National Bank (4.44 pct), Piraeus Bank (3.98 pct) and Eurobank (3.03 pct) suffered losses.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 101 to 55, with another 25 issues unchanged. Mathios (27.82 pct), Boutaris (20 pct) and Perseus (17.86 pct) were top gainers, while Sfakianakis (11.11 pct), Plaisio (6.41 pct) and Cyclon (5.61 pct) were top losers.
 Greece names primary dealers for bond marketA total of 22 financial institutions will be eligible to participate as primary dealers in the Greek electronic secondary bond market in 2013, the Bank of Greece said on Monday.
The central bank said they are the following: Alpha Bank, BANCA IM, BARCLAYS BANK, BNP PARIBAS, CITIGROUP, CREDIT SUISSE, DEUTSCHE BANK, Eurobank, Emporiki Bank, GOLDMAN SACHS, HSBC, ING, JP MORGAN, MERRILL LYNCH, MORGAN STANLEY, National Bank, NOMURA INTERNATIONAL, Piraeus Bank, ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND, SOCIETE GENERALE, UBS and UNICREDIT BANK AG (MILAN).
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds remained almost unchanged at 10.57 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, with the Greek bond yielding 11.88 pct and the German Bund 1.31 pct. There was no turnover in the market during the last trading session of the year.
In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate was 0.54 pct, the six-month rate was 0.32 pct, the three-month rate eased to 0.18 pct and the one-month rate fell to 0.10 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe March contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 2.28 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover shrinking to a low 3.658 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totalled 1,155 contracts worth 1.815 million euros, with 30,603 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totalled 9,308 contracts worth 1.843 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (2,302), followed by Alpha Bank (1,799), Piraeus Bank (1,523), OTE (738), MIG (414), OPAP (758), Cyprus Popular Bank (400), Eurobank (495), PPC (66), Mytilineos (172) and Ellaktor (43).
 Foreign exchange rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.319
Pound sterling 0.816
Danish kroner 7.461
Swedish kroner 8.582
Japanese yen 113.61
Swiss franc 1.207
Norwegian kroner 7.348
Canadian dollar 1.313
Australian dollar 1.271
 57 facing criminal charges in drug trafficking ring caseThe number of people arrested for their involvement in a drug trafficking ring in the northern cities of Thessaloniki, Volos and Agrinio reached 35 as of late Monday, police said, who added another four policemen to the three already arrested, including the head of an antinarcotics division in Volos.
A total of 57 people are facing criminal charges related to drug trafficking; of these, 43 were active members of the ring, the police said, while 14 were collaborators.
According to Thessaloniki police chief Athinagoras Pazarlis, the ring was led by two 34-year-olds and a 29-year-old man, all of Albanian nationality, and distributed at least 400 kg of marijuana, 20 kg of heroin and 1 kg of cocaine from Balkan countries to Greece.
Policemen involved in the ring worked with traffickers to frame others as drug dealers; the traffickers would then be "rewarded" by those they aided, by collecting either 10,000 euros or drugs. Some of those benefitting from the scheme were prisoners, whose "tips" would help them reduce their jail sentences at court hearings.
Thirty-five people, appearing before the Thessaloniki prosecutors under heavy security measures late on Monday, were indicted and given a date for their deposition.
 Public Order minister on dismantling of drug trafficking ring"Legality everywhere, by all and in every direction" is the message of Public Order Minister Nikolaos Dendias regarding the dismantling by the Greek police of a drug trafficking ring in Thessaloniki, Volos and Agrinio on Sunday and Monday.
In a statement on Tuesday, the minister speaks of a "very big" success of the Greek Police (ELAS) which is "yet another indication of the adherence of the overwhelming majority of the women and men serving with it to the task that the state has assigned to them and their dedication to the protection of society in its entirety".
Dendias thanked on the part of the government all who contributed "to the dismantling of this huge drug trafficking ring" and assured Greek society that "the few perjurors within the prosecuting authorities today are detected by their own colleagues and face the consequences of the law".
The minister concluded by saying that "the target is not only the detection of the small minority that participates in organised illegality, but also of whoever possibly tolerates it".
 300,000 euros worth of stolen jewellery recovered from pawn shop, homeStolen jewellery valued at over 300,000 euros was confiscated and returned to its rightful owners on Monday by police in Iraklio, Crete, after investigations starting at a pawn shop.
Missing invoices for money, jewellery, sovereign pounds and weighing equipment found in the manager's bag led to a search at his house, where police found and confiscated gold weighing nearly 600 grammes. According to police, the items were the result of 24 thefts carried out between 2008 and 2012. Case files were drawn on the store's clerk, a 40-year-old male, the manager, 38, and the absent owner, a 37-year-old female, over the acceptance and disposal of products of crime, while the items were identified and returned to their owners.
 Clear, chilly on WednesdayThe weather is expected to improve throughout most of Greece on Wednesday, with the exception of Crete and the Dodecannse, where rainfall and possible storms are expected in the early morning hours.
Athens will be clear and chilly, with temperatures ranging from 7C to 15C.
Thessaloniki will be lightly cloudy, with temperatures of 2C to 12C.
 The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAGGELIOFOROS: "Fuel smuggling on the rise - Huge tax evasion with liquid tank trucks from Bulgaria and FYROM", and "Lagarde list - Motion for parliamentary probe committee submitted to parliament".
AVGHI: "2013 the year of reversal, catharsis, rebirth", and "Expensive heating oil and 'raids' on salaries lead to uncontrolled burning of wood, resulting in a smoke smog that threatens the public health and the environment".
EXPRESS: "Plan to limit the VAT rebates - Finance Ministry mulling exemption of very small enterprises with turnover of up to 10,000 euro".
KERDOS: "Review of predictions, hopes, expectations and fears for the new year - The main wager and the 'list of obligations'."
LOGOS: "Tax 'gift' - The first cuts to salaries in January".
NIKI: "Save your home with installments beginning at 200 euro - The changes to mortgage loans in 2013 - The conditions for saving your main residence".
RIZOSPASTIS: "2013 could be a good year - The hope for the people is in their own struggles", and "Problems due to the bad weather - The heavy rainfall reveals once again the lacks in the infrastructures".
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